This post contains affiliate links. “As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.”
DETROIT — Rookie receiver Jameson Williams reported to Detroit Lions practice for the first time this week, then dropped a dime on the Motor City community on the eve of the team’s Thanksgiving Day showdown against the Buffalo Bills.
Read more: Welcome to Thanksgiving in the NFL: Everything you need to know about the history, records, moments and more
The Lions’ 12th overall pick showed up at Detroit Police Athletic League (PAL) headquarters to distribute turkeys and gift cards to 100 local families on Wednesday. Although Williams is yet to play in an NFL game while recovering from a torn ACL he suffered at Alabama in January, he eagerly awaited the opportunity to give back.
“I wanted to come out and get a chance to get into this community to talk to people, communicate with people and let them know that I’m really for the people,” Williams told ESPN.
Williams was joined by several family members, including both parents, James and Tianna Williams. They have helped him throughout the rehabilitation process and were right by his side for his first holiday event. They hope it will become a family tradition.
“It’s just perfect for him to come to town and help the town,” James said. “Better start helping.”
“Family… nothing can break that bond,” Tianna added.
With the Lions in the midst of their first three-game winning streak since 2017, the team is hoping Williams can contribute right away once he gets time off.
On his first day back on Monday, he ran the passing three routes with practice squad quarterback Tim Boyle after team drills. Boyle left the practice field a believer in his abilities.
“Very smooth and extremely quick. Really good in and out of breaks, ran really sharp routes,” Boyle said of Williams. “It was definitely good to see him. You could tell he was excited to be back out there. He kind of held back his little smile.”
The Lions still haven’t set a firm date for his return, but head coach Dan Campbell expects it to happen sometime after the Thanksgiving game.
When Williams hits the field, he’ll be rocking former Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford’s old No. 9 in Detroit. He contacted the current Los Angeles Rams quarterback before choosing the number, which gave him his blessings, with the response “that 9 would move a lot faster than on the field.”
Through community events like the PAL food giveaway and potentially high production on the field, Williams hopes to create his own legacy in Detroit when he is finally able to play.
“The 9 is a legendary number for Detroit, but no disrespect, I really want to carry on that legacy,” Williams said. “I want the 9 to be remembered because of me and what I did for Detroit.”